Lofty goals: Akeila Richardson competes in the triple jump, an event in which Bermuda has  produced many world class athletes like Mike Sharpe, Brian Wellman and  Aranxta King. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Lofty goals: Akeila Richardson competes in the triple jump, an event in which Bermuda has produced many world class athletes like Mike Sharpe, Brian Wellman and Aranxta King. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
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WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11: Akeila Richardson has lofty goals — something you might expect from a young athlete who medalled in her first two Carifta Games. Richardson competes in the triple jump, an event in which Bermuda has produced many world class athletes like Mike Sharpe, Brian Wellman and Aranxta King.

She is hoping to develop her talent under coach Gerry Swan and use her ability not only to garner a college education through track and field, but use her ability to travel the globe.

Don Burgess asked her about her preparations for this year’s Carifta Games in Bermuda.


How do you think you will do moving up an age group in Carifta?

I’m not quite sure. I’m focusing on training and trying my hardest. I’m focusing on getting personal bests and reaching my own goal rather than modeling. My main focus is just improving myself.

What was the 2009 St Lucia Carifta Games like for you?

It was an overwhelming experience. The adrenaline more than anything else captured me. It was like nothing I had every experienced before. Everyone in the crowd was cheering. I was really nervous but once I got onto the track and was ready to do my event, I had no time to be nervous. I just had to focus and pull out the best jumps that I could do.

How old where you when you started doing track?

I was eight-years-old and started by doing the 100, 200 and high jump.

Why did you switch to the triple jump?

In middle school, my gym teacher introduced me to it. I found out that I was really talented in it so I went on to start training Mr Swan. He helped me improve a lot and last year my jumps improved by over 1.5 metres. I’ve stuck to it and it’s become my main event.

What’s the feeling you get when you compete?

I feel calm, but very determined. I always try to push myself to my maximum and keep on improving every time I jump.

What do you hope to accomplish by doing the triple jump?

I hope to get a scholarship. I have heard from several schools who are interested in me. I want it to take me all around the world and I want to go as far as I can with it. Through it, I want to continue to improve myself.

Which of Bermuda’s famous triple jumpers has been an inspiration to you?

Arantxa King. Seeing her talent has really inspired me. A lot of times field events are looked down on and she showed me I can still be a jumper and still be the top and one of the best and most elite athletes. I can relate to her because she has gone through a lot of injuries and still come out on top. I’ve had to fight through a lot of injuries too.

What’s the best piece of triple jump advice that you have received?

Coach Swan always tells me to just ‘strive’ and to focus mentally. He tells me what I put in is what I will get out. If I work hard, I will get the results. Mentally, I keep that in my head while I am jumping and it helps me to stay focused on the things I have to work on.

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